Polar Bears International

Chapter One The Sea Bear

01

Forever linked to the majestic frozen seas of the Far North.

Polar bears are superbly adapted for life in the Arctic. They are a vital part of this vulnerable ecosystem and a charismatic symbol of the North.

Scientists regard polar bears as highly intelligent. Their specialized evolution and learned behavior is what keeps them at the top of the food chain in the Arctic.

Diatoms
Copepods
Arctic Cod
Ringed Seal
Polar Bear

02

Big, white, smart, and strong.

A brilliant animal, the polar bear’s evolved intelligence has often been compared to that of an ape.

What makes them survive and thrive in Arctic climates? Every element of their physique, routine, and instinct.

© Daniel J. Cox/NaturalExposures.com

Weight

Adult males normally weigh between 350 and 590 kilograms (772 and 1300 pounds). 

Adult females, like Anuri below, are smaller—weighing between 150 and 295 kilograms (331 and 650 pounds).

Size

Their height is usually measured when standing on all fours and averages 1.06 to 1.52 meters (3.5 to 5 feet).

When standing, some adult males are as tall as 3.04 meters (10 feet).

Distinctly different, polar bears’ bodies are built for the Arctic—from their pointed aquiline noses to their massive round posteriors.

Their long necks help them swim and hunt.

Meet Anuri

Age: 6 years
Weight: 240 kilograms
(529.11 pounds)

Anuri's sharp eyes, keen nose, and careful hearing help her find prey and teach her cubs how to survive in Arctic conditions.

Her fur is her shelter. It’s dense, insulated, and topped by guard hairs of various lengths. Her skin is black and covers a layer of thick fat that measures up to 11.5 centimeters (4.5 inches).

© Daniel J. Cox/NaturalExposures.com

Paws

Built to tread on thin ice and roam across frozen sea ice and deep snow, Anuri's paws measure 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) across. When ice is very thin, she extends her legs far apart and lowers her body to distribute her massive weight.

To help her swim for miles and reach far-off pack ice with her cubs, Anuri's forepaws act like paddles, while her hind paws serve as rudders.

On the bottoms of her feet, she has small, soft bumps known as papillae. Along with her sharp claws, which help her grip the ice, she never has to worry about slipping while searching for food.

Claws

Her weapon and survival tool, Anuri's claws are thick, curved, sharp, and strong. Each one measures more than five centimeters (two inches) long.

She depends on them to catch and hold her main prey—seals—and to provide traction on the ice.

Continue to the Next Part
Chapter 2